Racism is a social determinant of health
We denounce racism of all forms. It is a social determinant of health that is damaging to our community, patients, faculty, staff and trainees. Acknowledging this is a foundation for structural and systemic change toward equity in health and well-being. Yet this is only the first step. The next step is action–improving our education, engagement, funding, policies and practices to accelerate this journey.
To demonstrate this, we must elevate our commitment to our existing organizational value of inclusiveness to create a diverse and just organization. We must look introspectively at our policies, procedures and culture and take action to provide a safe, open, supportive environment for all faculty, staff and patients. Everyone at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center will know that change does not happen without all of us.
As an academic health center, we must equip our trainees, the future of health care, with the necessary tools and curriculum to recognize and address all social determinants of health and their devastating impact on health. We must also provide current faculty and staff with similar training and tools to ensure that all clinicians, during all points of treatment, provide equitable care to all patients.
As a public land-grant university and medical center embedded in our community, it is imperative that we empower our faculty and staff to partner with others in our community to address social determinants of health: racism, poverty, housing, transportation, education, jobs and nutrition. Through collaboration, we will achieve better results and be able to do more together. We must also leverage our hiring, purchasing and place-based investing in activities to support our communities that suffer the greatest health and economic disparities.
This is a defining moment. Only when we address the real issues of racism are we able to develop sustainable solutions to transform the health of our communities, and support our trainees, staff and faculty while doing so.
Join the 21-Day Anti-Racism Challenge
For 21 days, do one action to further your understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, systemic racism, oppression and equity. The challenge includes suggestions for readings, podcasts, videos, observations and ways to form and deepen community connections.
Local initiatives and resolutions
Our Action Plan
We will elevate the cause, making anti-racism efforts our very foundation.We will engage our faculty, staff, students, patients and communities with opportunities to learn and participate in anti-racism efforts.
We will equip our team members with tools, resources and channels to report issues, suggest ideas and move us forward.
We will empower our faculty, staff, students and patients to address racism and to understand that change does not happen without all of us.
We will evaluate and review our efforts regularly.
Our initiatives to elevate, engage, equip and empower
- Organize Roundtables on Actions Against Racism (ROAAR) with institutional and community leaders led by the Health Equity Steering Committee
- Develop and share medical center anti-racism statement and acknowledgement of racism as a social determinant of health, and include as part of our Mission, Vision, Values statement
- Screen consistently for social determinants of health questions in EMR and community hub referral (Healthcare Collaborative of Central Ohio)
- Lead city/county/state/federal policy work for policies and laws that contribute to anti-racism efforts
- Develop institutional policies and framework on diversity and anti-racist efforts in hiring, promotion and search committees
- Create annual anti-racism report
- Develop series of anti-racism town halls and listening sessions
- Implement “Stop the Line” for racism initiative
- Develop a comprehensive mentoring pathway
- Expand access to resources, dialogue, events and communication through HealthBeat HUB channel
- Create anti-racism section with resources and tools on medical center external website
- Partner with and support community organizations that have taken actions against racism
- Develop manager guides and tool kits, including template for listening sessions
- Invest additional money to scale long-standing initiatives and programs focused on equity such as Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT), Health Equity Steering Committee, implicit bias training and Diversity Council
- Create an anti-racist learning environment that embraces racism as a social determinant of health by enhancing curricula, racism mitigation and the fostering of diversity, inclusion and equity
- Create and fund Institute for Health Equity to lead and advise senior leaders
- Evaluate and review our efforts regularly
- Provide grant funding for Ohio State research on racism as a public health crisis
- Apply to use University Hospital and East Hospital as voting and polling stations
- Investigate innovation lab concept and possible collaboration with counties
- Conduct institutional review of all anti-discrimination policies, protocol and reporting
- Invest in the expansion of successful models for teaching health equity, such as the Family Medicine health equity curriculum
- Develop a formal mechanism for medical students, residents and other trainees to provide direct input and feedback on learning climate and curriculum
Upcoming events and ways to get involved
ROAAR: The intersection of racism, social determinants of health and diabetes care Friday, June 18 – noon via Zoom